The creator of the dancing bear logo and designer of the Wall of Sound for the Grateful Dead, Augustus Owsley Stanley III, better known by his nickname, Bear, was one of the most iconic figures in the cultural revolution that changed both America and the world during the 1960s.
Owsley's high octane rocket fuel enabled Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters to put on the Acid Tests. It also powered much of what happened on stage at Monterey Pop. Owsley turned on Pete Townshend of The Who and Jimi Hendrix. The shipment of LSD that Owsley sent John Lennon resulted in The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour album and film.
Convinced that the Grateful Dead were destined to become the world's greatest rock 'n' roll band, Owsley provided the money that kept them going during their early days. As their longtime soundman, he then faithfully recorded many of the Dead's greatest live performances and designed the massive space age system that came to be known as the Wall of Sound.
Award-winning author and biographer Robert Greenfield’s definitive biography of this Grateful Dead legend masterfully takes us through Owsley's incredible life and times to bring us a full picture of this fascinating man for the first time.
“[Augustus Owsley Stanley III] was Walter White without all the moral conflict or drama, a trailblazing alchemist who mass-produced LSD and made millions before anyone thought to make it illegal. Bear remains interesting long after his era has passed… Essential for Deadheads but also an engaging cultural portrait for anyone interested in the era.”—Kirkus Reviews
"The most mysterious man of the underground is finally revealed. Who changed life in the 20th century more than Owsley, who made the first million or so doses of LSD? He spent his life covering his tracks, avoiding photographs and spreading misinformation about himself, but now, finally, Robert Greenfield's Bear: The Life and Times of Augustus Stanley Owsley gives us the man and his great life in all its considerable glory."—Joel Selvin, author of Altamont: The Rolling Stones, the Hells Angels and Rock's Darkest Day
“Like Bill Graham and Jerry Garcia before him, Owsley Stanley comes alive on the page thanks to Robert Greenfield’s incisive ability to dig deep and illuminate a crucial and elusive figure in American music and popular culture. Bear is an invaluable part of any self-respecting Deadheads’ library.”—Alan Paul, author of One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band
"Robert Greenfield ably provides a sorely-needed sorting of the facts, myths, and deeply original beliefs originating from Owsley Stanley, father of American LSD and idiosyncratic patron to the Grateful Dead. A complex figure of unparalleled importance in the counterculture—and, thus, 20th century history at large--the rarely interviewed or photographed chemist comes alive on his own Owsleyian terms while Greenfield clears up the untruths and sets a few new legends in motion."—Jesse Jarnow, author of Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic America
"Owsley “Bear” Stanley was an authentic shaman-alchemist whose production of millions of doses of LSD transformed a tiny San Francisco neighborhood into ground zero for a planet-wide challenge to conventional notions of reality. That he was also ornery, obsessive, and at times just plain odd was merely part of the package. Bear illuminates a fascinating story with insight and panache, and it’s essential -- no Owsley, no sixties as we know them; it’s that simple".—Dennis McNally, author of A Long Strange Trip and On Highway 61
"Perfectly in line with his insightful biographies of Jerry Garcia and Timothy Leary, Robert Greenfield’s Bear paints a rich portrait of yet another counterculture icon, the legendary and ever-mysterious Owsley Stanley. Bolstered by Greenfield’s revealing interviews with his late subject, Bear proves Owsley was more than just the “King of LSD.” From sound systems to climate change, he was the forward-thinking Renaissance Man of the psychedelic era, and here, at last, is his full, fascinating story."—David Browne, author of So Many Roads: The Life and Times of the Grateful Dead
"[T]he first full biography of the man whose obsessive drive for perfection gave the [Grateful] Dead their dedication to quality in their performances and recordings....Greenfield's anecdotal Bear feeds a Deadhead's jones—those who were there during that Summer of Love or their children and grandchildren. Robert Greenfield's gossipy Bear captures the genius and craziness of the man who turned on a generation and made the Grateful Dead into a rock powerhouse."—Shelf Awareness
“. . . a poignant glimpse of a man with extraordinary power who ultimately used that power against himself.”—Boston Globe on Dark Star
“The best book ever written about the Stones, if not music in general.”—Independent on S.t.p.: A Journey Through America With The Rolling Stones
"The LSD made by the man we called Bear was some of the best. His influence is immeasurable. Robert Greenfield does a damn good job of telling us why that is so."—Counter Punch